Mr. Rogers did testify before the United States Senate.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon was being tricky and tried to cut funding to the Public Broadcasting Network (in case you’re a Republican, PBS) from $20 million to $10 million.
Fred Rogers only spoke for six minutes. He used that time tell the Senate Subcommittee on Communication what he thought his job entailed, mostly, to instill confidence in children.
The chairman of the committee, John Pastore, had never seen the show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but after Rogers was done, the chairman said, “I’m supposed to be a pretty tough guy, and this is the first time I’ve had goosebumps for the last two days. Looks like you just earned the $20 million.”
Mr. Rogers saved PBS from Tricky Dick.
What sort of reception would Mr. Rogers receive today before the Republican-controlled United States Senate? They’re not big fans of public broadcasting. Donald Trump has proposed cutting PBS and NPR (in case you’re a Republican, National Public Radio) funding from $450 million to less than the government allocated in 1969, down to $15 million.
Would Republicans call Mr. Rogers a “Never Trumper?” Would they cite the family separation policy and how it affects children? Would they ignore Mr. Rogers’ message as they work to send DACA kids back to nations they’ve never known? Would the party so enthusiastic about putting babies in cages heap scorn on Mr. Rogers’ message that all children are special and unique? Yeah, probably.
With the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” coming out this week, many in the media are talking about a kinder time when Mr. Rogers was spreading a message of love, kindness, and caring for one another. People wonder why we can’t return to that. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is supported by Republicans while he attacks and bullies women. While he tells minorities who were born here to “go back to where they came from.” While he tells us there’s really no one more special or important than he.
If we’re to ever go back to kindness and treating each other with civility, it’s not going to happen with Republicans in charge.
If there ever is an actual beautiful day in the neighborhood, you can count on Republicans to crap all over it.
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